It was either Bill Willingham or Steve Marsh (recent interviews from the Grogtalk folks) who said something along the lines of: if you've been playing D&D for 30+ years and haven't changed the rules to reflect your own play style, then you're doing it wrong.
Regardless of who said it (or how), the sentiment behind it has been fluttering around my mind for much of the last month...a sentiment that plenty of other folks have expressed over the years, on their blogs and elsewhere. Previously, it was not a sentiment that I bought into (much). Oh, sure, changes and house rules were fairly inevitable with a game as hodge-podge as D&D is, but I figured you should always strive to follow the rules as best you could...doing otherwise can lead to unforeseen problems and consequences. Tinkering solely for the sake of tinkering (as opposed to patching flaws of design) has been, for most of my gaming life, anathema. Better to just write your own game than say "yeah, I play my own version of Game X." Better, I've felt, to just say I play Game X, but it has these setting specific adjustments...when we're not in the setting, we play the game straight.
Problem is, this is just willful arrogance on my part. It's just me wanting to hold myself above others, judge them, deride their efforts. Or maybe not...I'm not a complete jerk (only a part-time one). Even so, there's a certain snobbishness I've been able to retain by living this fantasy of "(mostly) by the book" play. It's like I have a fear of losing my "credibility" should I go down the road of willy-nilly rules screwery.
[like when I was rewrote the OD&D books last year...all I did was reformat them in a useable form; my own "campaign house rules" (never finished) were to be in a separate document]
It's all absolutely ridiculous anyway. The only game I ever truly played "straight" was B/X...and look at all the additional rules I wrote to supplement that edition over the years!
Over the last 15 months, I've gone from B/X to OD&D to AD&D, shepherding my kids (and the occasional kid friend or two) through it all. I've written up and destroyed and rewritten multiple worlds and settings; I've run both my own adventures and those designed by others. Dice have been rolled, treasure found (and spent), spells cast, henchmen hired, characters killed.
D&D y'all. Glorious D&D. The Great Game.
I'm tired of adhering to rules written by other people. I Am Tired Of It. I am tired of being dissatisfied with one section or other of a given edition and feeling that I need to make a Serious Effort to run it the way it was meant to be run. Why? Just to say that I can?
[spoiler: I can]
Nope. Time to end the charade.
Okay. Nap time (again).
|Rome: she is a-burning.